About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Bethlehem Tp Police To Try Body Cameras

Tp Manager Melissa Shafer Discusses cyber security. 
At a brief and sparsely-attended meeting on May 16, Bethlehem Township Commissioners approved a $5,755 payment to WatchGuard for the purchase of several body-worn cameras for the police department. Michael Hudak cautioned that only some officers will be equipped. "If it works out, we'll look at equipping them all," he said.

Under current law, police officers can record oral communications using a body cameras, but must tell citizens that they are being recorded when “reasonably practicable.” The devices are banned inside of a residence.

Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Tyree Blocker recently told state lawmakers that he supports body cameras, but is waiting for them to untangle legal issues concerning their use before investing $2 million to equip troopers.

Closer to home, The Morning Call reports that Allentown police began testing body cameras in 2015. Lehigh University police have been using them for over a year, and Bethlehem Police Chief mark DiLuzio is concerned about privacy.

In other business, Commissioners accepted Manager Melissa Shafer's suggestion to hire CORE BTS, at a cost of about $9,800, "to try and hack us." This is called "penetration testing" and is a way for municipalities and businesses to improve cyber security and protect sensitive data about citizens.

"We would be foolish not to test our security periodically," said Mike Hudak.

Commissioners also voted to support a Public Works municipal aid agreement with Palmer Township, as well as an agreement to hire g PA Fire Recovery Services (PAFRS) to serve as the third party billing agency for the Township in connection with emergency response reimbursements from insurance companies. Hudak assured one concerned citizen that only insurance companies are billed. "Our taxpayers never pay even if the insurance company does not," he said.

All votes were unanimous among the four Commissioners present. Tom Nolan was absent.

Malissa Davis invites residents to monthly roundtable 
In her monthly report, Manager Melissa Shafer stated that action is being taken this year to address the flooding experienced by Chetwn Avenue residents during heavy downpours. Public Works will increase the size of the swale on the Chetwin Playground side of the Bike Path to allow for more water to flow behind the path. Additionally, Township workers will repave the bike path from Sheridan Drive to the bridge over Freemansburg Avenue, adding approximately four inches of paving material to aid in keeping stormwater off the residential properties on Chetwin Terrace. She estimates that paving will take place in late summer.

Bethlehem Township Police, on their active Facebook page, are warning residents about fake Craiglist rental properties. "Please remember, if asked to wire money, purchase Green Dot or Itunes cards, or anything of that nature for an Internet transaction, there is a good chance it is fraudulent," warn Township police.

As the meeting ended, Malissa Davis reminded residents of a monthly "Meet the Commissioners" meeting held on the fourth Sunday of every month at the community center between noon and 3 pm. "It's really nice," she said. "We sit around a big round table and there's coffee. It's just a discussion of things that are going on in the township."

Updated 5/17/16, 2:15 pm, to correct an error in the final paragraph. The "Meet the Commissioner" get-togethers are on the fourth Sunday each month, not the third as I erroneously reported.


Anonymous said...

Spend, spend and more spend of taxpayer dollars.

Are Bethlehem twp police officers profiling hence the need for body cameras?

Anonymous said...

@8:08 AM and the first incident, right or wrong...you'll be screaming for all officers to be equipped. For me, I'm tired of seeing news reports bashing law enforcement for something they didn't do. If this works, I'm not opposed to it.

Anonymous said...

Body cameras aid in the prevention of excessive force lawsuits. Juries can see first hand how savages behave. This is a safety measure as well as a cost saving measure in the long run.

Anonymous said...

NE PA suburbia is late in adopting this technology - glad to see they are finally thinking about getting with the program. Reliable penetration testing can be procured for alot less than $9800 though - the Township needs to shop that proposal around a bit.